Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest Rankings, specifically for Best Picture.
A reminder about the color code:
Films in RED are films that are essential. These are films you need to see, whether you like them or not. Though you’ll probably like most of them. A few of these may be part of a personal bias, but this is my list. Just think of the films in red as films you need to see if you want to be film literate (in the most basic sense). At least 70% of these are films that, if you haven’t seen them, you should be ashamed of yourself. These are the prerequisites you need to get into the class. (5-star films.)
Films in ORANGE are films that are my personal favorites (that aren’t already marked red). While not “essential” per say, these are films that I love dearly. They’re essential to me. They’re films that I will tell you that you need to see. I’d say that 80% of the time, these are going to be films that most people would enjoy. A few of them might be subjective to me, but on the whole, these are all very good films. I tried to limit the orange ones to only the best of the best, my absolute favorites. But either way, I love them, and you should definitely see at least 80% of them. (My 5-star films. At worst, most people’s 3-star films. Generally 4’s for everybody.) (more…)
At the bottom of all my Oscar Quest articles, after talking about the films and performances and how I ranked them in that specific category, I ranked all the nominees. This article is a collection of those rankings. (Any changes from what I originally wrote we’ll mediate as they pop up.)
There’s no real set criteria to explain how I ranked everything. I’m sure there’s some overly complicated formula I have in my head, but let’s not try to explain what goes on in my head. The general rules for the rankings are: almost always do my favorite films and performances take precedent. They’ll usually go first. Sometimes the order will be solely how I like the films, and sometimes they’ll be solely how I rate the performances. Most times, it’s a bit of both. Usually there’s a clear #1 (or lack thereof) that dictates how the rest of the list proceeds. There’s really no definitive explanation, so I’ll leave it at: I’ve Santa Claus’d this list multiple times, and I stand by every one of these rankings.
The goal of all of this was always to recommend films for you to see (being able to put forth my opinion on it was a bonus). Use this alongside The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide article as a way of finding films to see. With these, you can very quickly find out which films I love and think you should see, no reading required. And any reading you care to do is just a click away. Plus, by reading the articles and seeing the films (even if it’s just simply the small handful of ones I say you need to see), you’ll have more knowledge of the Oscars and their history than the av-er-age person, making you that much more qualified to say, “What? That? Fuck no, that shouldn’t have won!” Who doesn’t want that? (more…)
This is it, folks. This is what it’s all been building towards. One article encompassing everything. Here is a list of every film ever nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Director. A cheat sheet, of sorts. If you’re looking for Oscar films to watch, and don’t want to read all the articles (or say you’ve read the articles, but now want a list of films to see, and don’t want to reread them all), you can just go to this article and everything is right at your fingertips. Let me explain how it works:
The list descends by category (Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director) and by year, starting with the most recent. Each film on the list will be color-coded based on how much I like it/how essential it is. I’ll explain the color code in a second. Using the colors, you can instantly know whether or not I think you should see a film as well as (generally) how I feel about it. You can also use The Oscar Quest: Rankings article to see how I ranked the films/performances in their specific categories. Between the two, you’ll have as much information as you can possibly get about my opinion of a film on its own and in the context of a category without reading anything.
And if that’s not enough, next to each category, when I list what year it is, I’ll link to the article I wrote about it, which contains in depth (or not) thoughts about the films, synopses, and just more specific information on how I rank it, how I figured out my vote, things like that. So, with this one article, you have as much or as little information you could want about every movie from this Oscar Quest. Aren’t I great? (more…)
Let’s briefly recap 1952. I’ve talked about this a lot. Most of it is contained in the other articles. But, 1952. The Greatest Show on Earth beats High Noon for Best Picture. The Academy takes innocuous over the controversial. Generally regarded as a terrible decision. John Ford wins his fourth Best Director for The Quiet Man (talked about here), a decision that doesn’t make sense and only serves to make it seem like the Academy was openly telling people that, rather than voting for The Greatest Show on Earth, they were voting against High Noon. Like the schoolyard boy who pushes a girl rather than saying he likes her.
Gary Cooper wins Best Actor for High Noon (talked about here), which is what’s strange to me. If they don’t like the film, why give it anything at all? Best Actress was Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba (talked about here), and Best Supporting Actor was Anthony Quinn for Viva Zapata!. Both okay decisions, pretty ho-hum though. That’s what this year is. A big fucking mess, just because they had all the controversy. And then there’s this category…
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1952
And the nominees were…
Gloria Grahame, The Bad and the Beautiful
Jean Hagen, Singin’ in the Rain
Collette Marchand, Moulin Rouge
Terry Moore, Come Back, Little Sheba
Thelma Ritter, With a Song in My Heart (more…)
1952, as we all know, is a pretty infamous year. The Greatest Show on Earth beats High Noon for Best Picture, in one of the most controversial and beat upon decisions of all time. I talked about it a lot, I think, in the Best Actress 1952 category article here, which Shirley Booth won for Come Back, Little Sheba, so I won’t speak too much about it except — HUAC is going on, High Noon is an anti-Communist film, and the whole situation was very awkward for them, so they just avoided it and went with the innocuous choice. But, interestingly enough, it seems like a choice where — they wanted you to know: they didn’t vote for this film, they just didn’t vote for this other film.
Anyway, Best Director this year was John Ford, winning his fourth, for The Quiet Man. I don’t really like the decision, because, he didn’t need the fourth one, and I don’t see how the bias against the film extends to Fred Zinnemann (especially considering the result of this category), and because — Cecil B. DeMille directed The Greatest Show on Earth. How do you not give him the Oscar he’s earned over the course of his career? Then there’s Best Supporting Actor, which was Anthony Quinn for Viva Zapata!, which is fine. It was kind of a weak category. And then Best Supporting Actress was Gloria Grahame for The Bad and the Beautiful, which, I’m glad the film got some recognition.
So, that’s 1952. A strange year that’s not really a simple, like/don’t like, acceptable/not kind of year. And then there’s this category, which — is kind of okay, and yet, is tough to really judge. I’ll explain. Of course I’ll explain.
BEST ACTOR – 1952
And the nominees were…
Marlon Brando, Viva Zapata!
Gary Cooper, High Noon
Kirk Douglas, The Bad and the Beautiful
José Ferrer, Moulin Rouge
Alec Guinness, The Lavender Hill Mob (more…)
A person could talk for hours about 1952. This is the year High Noon, the consensus best picture of the year, loses Best Picture to The Greatest Show on Earth. Now, this is unintentionally one of the years that lead to the existence of this Oscar Quest. I unthinkingly said, “Wow, High Noon not winning Best Picture was such a crock of shit,” without actually having seen The Greatest Show on Earth. The rest is history. Now, having seen The Greatest Show on Earth, I can say pretty definitively — it’s not a bad film. It’s actually a very good film, and a very entertaining film. What it is, is — not even a bad choice — it’s a safe choice.
You see, HUAC was big during this time. That’s the House of Un-American Activities. If you don’t know what that is, you probably should have paid a bit more attention in history class. Seriously. Be better. And High Noon, written by a blacklisted writer, was nothing more than an allegory for what was going on in Hollywood at the time. And it was a very controversial film, naturally. So — the Academy, not having any balls, couldn’t bring themselves to vote the film for Best Picture. So they went with the easy choice. The question is — why?
It seems like they were so unsure of what to do (aside from not voting for High Noon), they went and fucked everything up in the most confusing way possible. The Greatest Show on Earth wins Best Picture, but not Best Director. Which is strange, since the director of the film was Cecil B. DeMille, a Hollywood legend (who never won a competitive Oscar. He was given a Thalberg award this same year, so perhaps that’s why they didn’t vote for him). Instead, they gave John Ford his fourth Best Director Oscar for The Quiet Man. Not a bad decision, but, he had three. I don’t think he needed it. So they vote one for Best Picture, another for Best Director. And making things even more confusing, they go and give Gary Cooper Best Actor for High Noon. What the fuck? I thought they hated it. Way to be contradictory, Academy. It would have made sense to go another way with it, so at least you can say he didn’t win because of the Citizen Kane-type bias. It makes no sense.
Anyway, the other winners this year were Anthony Quinn as Best Supporting Actor for Viva Zapata!, and Gloria Grahame as Best Supporting Actress for The Bad and the Beautiful. It’s a very strange and confusing year. It’s like the puberty of the Academy. And on top of that, we have this category, which, isn’t terrible, but also — just strange. Just really strange. (more…)